THERE are dogs across this metro, and indeed around the country, whose quality of life borders on slow, insidious torture. This may sound a harsh thing to say, but consider the issue from the dogs' point of view.
People acquire dogs for two reasons. They like having a devoted, tail-wagging friend who welcomes them as they arrive home from work at say 5.30pm. They also like the fact that their dog spends the rest of a long, boring day cooped up in the yard, "protecting" their home.
Unless a dog has someone or something to keep it entertained and active, it becomes restless. Then it will bark at the slightest hint of movement outside the property.
As I write, a neighbour's little dog has only just let up after about two hours of incessant yapping. Most affected by this are the retired, elderly and bed-ridden, people who spend most of their day at home, or those who work from home legally – in other words doing noise-free work, not light industrial jobs in their garages.
Such people are, like too many dog owners, selfish in the extreme. They seem to believe they have the right to make as much noise as they like, and to hell with neighbours who simply want peace and quiet.
But don't try to confront either the owner of a noisy dog, or the man who believes he can conduct a noisy car repair or carpentry business in his yard. The dog owner will tell you accusingly that you "don't like animals" and have no idea how much they "love" their dogs, who are "like our children".
However, children are raised to conform to standards of civilised behaviour. Dog owners don't seem to believe they need to apply the same behaviour norms and standards to their dogs.
I grew up in a village outside East London and our dog would accompany us on regular walks around the village and along the beach, or in the sand dunes. It really was a dog's life, with plenty of exercise and adventure.
But what of today's "guard dogs", left to whine and howl in their yards? And It seems to be worse over weekends.
How many times has one not experienced incessant barking and the owners don't even bother to call the poor animal inside and calm it down. You rarely see people even walking their dogs around the neighbourhood on a leash and when last did you witness a dog owner admonishing a yapping dog?
Tens of thousands of people are happy to buy a puppy, enjoy the few years when it is small and cuddly and fun to play with. But when it comes to training it and teaching it to learn discipline, they lose interest.
They may think their dog's barking will alert neighbours to someone trying to break into their house. But their dog will have "cried wolf" so often the only response is to wish it would shut up.
An imprisoned dog will bark at anything, because it is so frustrated and hemmed in. Dog owners need to consider the list of dog "entertainments" published recently in the Weekend Post, little things like giving them hard bones to chew on, so they don't end up frustrated, bored and noisy nuisances.
I urge The Herald to publish daily the all-hours telephone numbers of the dog unit and municipal anti-noise pollution officials. Law-abiding residents need to know who they can call on to address these problems.
Hounded, Port Elizabeth